By Tayo Balogun
I am one of those who feel that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration could not in all honesty be said to have done well these past four years. Those who are more critical would regard his administration as a monumental failure in every aspect of our national life. We are economically worse off now than we were four years ago.
Now almost everyone has a begging neighbour who finds it difficult if not impossible to make ends meet. The churches come to the help of hapless parents by imposing months of fasting on their members. Insecurity has increased. Electricity supply which the PMB government claims to have made progress in is declining . The nation now is more divided along its major fault lines of tribe and religion. In sport, we keep stumbling and fumbling and groping endlessly in the dark. We move no step forward but many backwards. The prevailing impression amongst non-partisans is that our President has not only dropped the ball but is unaware of the rules of engagement in the struggle to make our lives better!
Yet, this was a man celebrated four years ago by almost everyone as having all it takes to put our country on the path of rectitude . He was going to make us better we thought. So what happened? Why was the Buhari myth so easily unraveled? Perhaps, that would be a subject of study some years to come. What is obvious at the moment is that we are not being adequately served by the Buhari government. And this is mainly because he has not chosen people who could have helped him achieve the expectations of Nigerians. Curiously, he won an election many thought he would not win and so we are saddled again with a Presidency yet to come to terms with the Nigerian reality.
The next four years will be providing an opportunity for Buhari to set things right. First step in this direction is for him to understand his limitations. He must know that he is limited by the constraining influence of age and a not so robust health. He therefore should know he would function most effectively and efficiently as a board chairman supervising a board of committed experts. What this means is that his Ministers must be grounded in the areas of their supervision not in partisan politics.
But what our President has put forward as a team for the next four years is hardly inspiring- a few technocrats, a motley of retired henchmen, an Alfa, a choir of King Buhari and a few good men. As usual, he has been ignored by many who have agreed to wait him out believing that nothing good can come out of the present contraption.
Amongst the few good men in Buhari ‘s cabinet is Sunday Dare . Am not talking from a moral standpoint but from a perception that with his background and perceived tendencies he should make a good Minister.Quite a few feel that judging from his background he probably would have served better as the Minister for Communication . But our President doesn’t bother with issues like that. His major drawback is his inability to be bothered by the details of dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s. So to Sports Sunday Dare has been posted and if Buhari plays the script as he did in his last term Dare would be in office for the next three and half years mainly because Buhari would just not bother to know if he is performing or not.
Would he be able to help our country? Will he be a successful Sports Minister? Would his performance in office eventually serve as a redeeming grace for our President? Such that history would be kind to him? I do not have answers to these questions but I do know that going by the poor performance of his predecessor in office our new Minister would have not much to be judged by. Those who claim to know him say he is a very thorough man who is systematic in his approach to issues. If this viewpoint is true then he would have little problem doing well in office.
From my observation what has been largely wrong with our sport administration is that there does not appear to be a blueprint to enhance development. What most Sports Ministers have done is to coast through their tenures. Apart from when Bolaji Abdullahi was there, most Ministers have largely occupied the office in a holding capacity. To his eternal credit, Abdullahi ably assisted by Pat Ekeji brought about a restructuring of sport associations in the country. It was also Bolaji Abdullahi that restructured our professional football league.
The expectation from Sunday Dare is not much. Mainly because having been so roundly disappointed in the last four years not many have any illusions anymore. Our new Minister can turn this to his advantage by carving a niche for both himself and our beleaguered President if he makes sports work for our country.
Strangely enough, the blueprint for success is in the archives of the Sports Ministry. There he would find recommendations by experts proffering solutions to most of the ills plaguing our sports. All the new helmsman needs do is go through the many recommendations and see what he could effectively put to use. He may yet bring some plaudits for this administration if he succeeds. Then his birthday of May 29 may turn out to be our Revolution Day when sports would move to galvanize our country by becoming a fulcrum for national integration and cohesion. When sport will help in the rebuilding process of our national life.